I am pleased to report that the eighteen month period ending 31 December 2014 was an extremely positive one for the ICCCTO. During this period we remained true to our mandate by focusing on providing a network for our members to promote their business and professional interests while also supporting the development of enhanced trade links between Ireland and Canada.
Enhanced Trade Links – Business Summits
Starting with the latter we were extremely pleased to take on a leadership role on two transatlantic Ireland Canada Business Summits focused on promoting trade relations between the two countries in collaboration with our friends at the Ireland Canada Business Association (ICBA) in Dublin. The first event took place in Dublin back in September 2013 under the inspired leadership of my predecessor Cormac Monaghan and featured the Honourable John Manly, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada who highlighted the importance of the Free Trade relationship between Canada and the EU. The second took place here in Toronto just over a year later in October 2014 and featured a range of high profile business speakers. Both events were extremely well attended and guests were left in no doubt that there is significant opportunity for enhanced economic collaboration in the future. We have just initiated conversations with the ICBA in Dublin about this next installment which appears likely to happen back in Ireland in 2016.
Continue to Focus on Our Local Presence
While helping foster enhanced trade links is very important we also place a huge importance on our presence locally here in Toronto. To that end on October 9th 2014 we hosted our Inaugural Presidents Dinner at One King West. David Walmsley, Editor in Chief of the Globe and Mail was the keynote speaker and we were also delighted to hear from the Honourable Dr. Kellie Leitch, Canada’s Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women. The evening was a great success and we hope this event can become a fixture on the Chamber calendar for many years to come.
Other events of note included hosting the current Mayor of John Tory in the run up to the election and the Minister for Finance from Ireland, Michael Noonan at the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast.
This is not to forget our regulars, the Golf Day, the Quiz and the Christmas Party which were all great successes.
On the sponsorship front we were delighted to add Bank of Ireland as a corporate sponsor and indeed host a fantastic Business Breakfast event in April. Thankfully Scotiabank and KPMG remain our pillars and attracting additional corporate sponsorship will be a key objective for the year ahead. We also thank the various companies the kindly sponsor our various events throughout the year.
New Executive Director
We were also delighted to add a new Executive Director, Cathy Murphy who has been instrumental in the day to day management of the Chamber. In particular she has played a very positive role upgrading our membership database, communication system and website. While still more work to go on this front we are very pleased with the progress to date.
Unfortunately, this year will also see significant change at Board Level with a number of long serving Director stepping down. Cormac Monaghan, Michael Monaghan, Damian Dupuy, Alannah McMahon and perhaps even Eithne Heffernan. We thank them all sincerely for their major contributions to the Chamber and the Irish community in general. We also lost Ross O’Colmain of Enterprise Ireland who moved south to lead the EI New York office.
Future Outlook – New Board & Governance
All this change obviously presents opportunity. To that end we will work diligently over the coming months to formally appoint the new Board, establish the Executive Roles and Committees and update our Bye Laws. This will lay the foundation for the Chamber to thrive for years to come.
I would like to thank our Board of Directors for their unflinching support. Finally to our members, thank you for being part of the Chamber. You are the reason the Chamber continues to be so successful. Once the new Board is established we look forward to collaborating with you on the future strategy and direction of the Chamber.
As we get ready to embrace the year ahead we do so with optimism and enthusiasm, confident in the knowledge that the Chamber continues to play a very important role in the Irish community here in Toronto.
Until Next Year!